2005: Equipment changes along with calendar
The man who led the 2004 PGA Tour in putting (Stewart Cink) has changed putters. The man who led the 2004 Tour in just about everything (Vijay Singh) has a new driver and irons, as well as a new caddie.
“We tend to think it’s not the arrow (club), it’s the Indian (player),” Cink said.
Cink, a Nike staff player, has switched from a Never Compromise Sub30M3 putter to a 48-inch, center-shafted Nike T140 Oz prototype. Unlike previous Oz versions, this one doesn’t have a center cavity behind the head. It is rear-weighted with a tungsten plug.
Why the change?
“Why not?” Cink said. “I liked the putter I used quite a bit. But I like this one, too.”
Singh, meanwhile, who signed a three-year extension with Cleveland Golf in the offseason, switched from a TaylorMade r7 quad driver to a Cleveland Launcher 460 Comp, with a graphite and titanium clubhead. The world’s No. 1 player, who goes through three sets of irons a year because of worn grooves, has gone from Cleveland’s TA1 irons to new CG1s, whose heads look the same to him.
“It takes one or two days to get used to it,” said Singh.
Unlike Singh, Chad Campbell couldn’t agree to terms on a new contract after three years with Cleveland and showed up at the Mercedes with a blank bag and Ping i3 blade irons. He used Ping equipment in college and in his early years as a professional.
“There were a few little things we didn’t agree on,” said Campbell, who still uses Cleveland wedges.
He said he tested several different brands of irons for about a month during the offseason but isn’t close to signing with anyone. “Right now I’m not worried about (a club deal),” said Campbell, who did sign a new headwear deal with Sharpie.
As speculated for months, longtime Hogan staffer Justin Leonard signed a multiyear contract with Nike Golf that includes clubs, ball, glove, bag, footwear, apparel, headwear and accessories. He will use Nike’s 410cc Ignite driver, Forged Blade irons, Forged Pro Combo wedges and a Nike One Black ball. Leonard also will be reunited with Tom Stites, Nike’s chief club engineer, who formerly worked at Hogan.
Separately, Nike Golf announced the signing of Englishman Paul Casey, who will play the company’s Nike One Gold ball, Forged Pro Combo irons, Forged wedges and the Ignite 410cc driver. Casey formerly played Titleist equipment.
Bart Bryant made an estimated $200,000 for using a Callaway driver last year, but has switched to a Cleveland Launcher. Callaway has discontinued paying tee-up money for its driver.
Among other equipment changes:
Todd Hamilton has substituted the Sonartec 14-degree hybrid that helped him win the British Open with a new Sonartec head and UST iRod shaft. He also has switched irons (Mizuno MP33 irons to TaylorMade Rac TP forged), TaylorMade drivers (from 540 to r7) and Cleveland wedges.
Long-time Precept staff player Stuart Appleby has switched to gear made by Precept’s parent company – Bridgestone’s J33 driver and irons.
TaylorMade players Sergio Garcia and Mike Weir have changed Rac irons, to the new TP forged model. Garcia also has gone to a new Rossa Sport putter.
Jonathan Kaye, who led the Mercedes field in putting, has gone from a Never Compromise putter to a Ping Craz-E.
Cleveland staffer David Toms used a new Titleist 905T driver with a Speeder 660 shaft while searching for a Cleveland driver that works for him. He had used a Launcher.
Craig Parry has switched irons, from Hogan Apex Plus to the new Callaway X Tour.
Ernie Els and Woody Austin have changed Scotty Cameron putters, with Austin going to a Futura Phantom prototype.
– Mike Mazur contributed